Thursday, January 29, 2015

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras chaired the first ministerial council meeting of his government yesterday and focused on his cabinet’s immediate priorities. These priorities include addressing the humanitarian crisis, supporting the economy, and negotiating a fair and sustainable solution with Greece’s partners, among others.

The council discussed the government’s positions in preparation of European Parliament President Martin Schulz’ meeting with Tsipras today, and the meeting with Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who will be arriving in Athens tomorrow.

Concerning the meeting with Dijsselbloem, government Vice-President Yiannis Dragasakis said: "We will present our views on how Greece will get out of the dead end and how Europe will disengage from this situation."

In related news, Alternate Migration Policy Minister Tasia Christodoulopoulou announced that Greek nationality would be granted to all migrants' children who were born and raised in Greece. She added that this would apply to even those who were not born here, but came to Greece at very young age and finished school here.

During the handover ceremony at the Ministry of Finance, Yianis Varoufakis stated that there are prospects for a fruitful new agreement between Greece and the rest of Europe, referring to a telephone conversation with Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem. He also said that "Europe has shown that it knows how to find solutions and avoid ultimatums." Shortly after his appointment as the new Minister of Finance, he spoke to CNN on the new government’s intentions regarding negotiations with the European Union regarding debt relief. He reiterated that Greece is committed to the Eurozone and pointed out that a potential departure would have major implications on not just Greece, but the Eurozone and global economy.

CNN - Varoufakis: Greece committed to Eurozone [Video]

More than 300 million in the world have access to fresh water thanks to desalination, a process that removes salt and other minerals from saline water, making it suitable for human consumption. The process is effective but it also has side effects. Desalination is extremely energy-consuming and creates by-products such as brine, which returns to the sea and damages local ecosystems. The problem is so acute that some scientists talk about a future Mediterranean threat, since 3m³ of seawater produce 1m³ of fresh water and 2m³ of hazardous waste residue.

Athens Technical University researcher Dimitris Xevgenos created a startup company to launch an innovative solution which seeks to minimize damage from brine and high energy consumption. The technical proposal called 'Sol-Brine' aims at recycling the brine, in a way that not only does not become harmful to the environment, but can be used for other industrial purposes such as the production of table salt, paper and plaster. Moreover, ‘Sol brine’ is based on cutting-edge evaporation methods, which entail so low energy consumption that it can be covered by renewable energy sources.

So far, "Sol-Brine' has been tested on the island of Tinos for two years with remarkable results, something that has helped Xevgenos to secure funding for a full-scale launch of the method on the market.

Following the unfortunate events of the Norman Atlantic shipwreck, amid confusion over the passenger list, the Ministry of Shipping has approved e-ticketing, with standards similar to procedures followed by airline companies.

Hence, passengers will be able to book their tickets online and print their boarding-pass before boarding the ship. 

The new system will not only provide safety in data management, but it will also facilitate consumers and boost the market, since booking will be made easier and faster. According to current regulation, passengers are strictly required to present their paper ticket before embarkation and reservation references or ticket numbers are not accepted.

  • Greek Carnival Costumes @ Folk Art Museum
The Angeliki Hatzimichali Museum of Folk Art & Tradition is hosting an exhibition on traditional carnival costumes in Greece from February 1 to 23.

The collection will acquaint visitors with some of Greece’s most famous traditional carnival costumes, suc as Genitsaroi, Korela and Boula from the private collection Imatio of Apostolis-Konstantinos Takis and will provide insight on their fascinating history.
  • Yorgos Tsaras @ Myro Gallery
Thessaloniki-based sculptor & Fine Arts Professor Yorgos Tsaras exhibits his latest work, which is a tribute to the 2,000 casualties, caused by the massacres of the Boko Haram extremists in Nigeria at the Myro Gallery in Thessaloniki.

It was not long before the terrorist attack on the Paris offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo (January 7), when Tsaras, together with his students, created an installation which is now open to the public at the Myro Gallery and will be running until February 14.

Throughout his career, Yorgos Tsaras has received many awards for his works.

He teaches at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Thessaloniki and has served as Chair of the Thessaloniki State Museum of Contemporary Art (2005-2008). More than 60 of his creations decorate public spaces in Greece and abroad.

  • Barbara Mendes @ Half Note Jazz Club
One of Brazil’s greatest talents, and a passionate performer, Barbara Mendes will perform at the Half Note Jazz Club on January 30 and February 2. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Mendes was influenced by bossa nova and musica popular Brasileira, has put out two solo albums and has multiple collaborations on soundtracks and with renowned DJ’s.
  • The Beatles Tribute Project @ Megaron
Following their summer success in the Herod Atticus Theatre in July, the Armonia Atenea – the Friends of Music Orchestra will perform the “Beatles Tribute Project” at the Athens Concert Hall on January 30. The Orchestra will present imaginative orchestral arrangements of some of the Beatles’ best songs, adding the grandeur of the full symphony sound. Kostas Vasiliagos, Doros Demosthenous, Vasilis Gisdakis and Just Steve will feature as the four Beatles.
  • Athens School Festival @ Technopolis
The city of Athens is hosting the Athens School Festival (Greek) at Athens Technopolis on January 31, introducing school bands of various music genres, from Greek folk music to grunge and heavy metal.